The US government announced the transfer of two Libyans from Guantanamo to the Republic of Senegal. Both of the men were allegedly members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and worked for al Qaeda prior to their detention. JTF-GTMO found both to be “high” risks. President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force previously deemed one of them “too dangerous” to transfer.
Ahmed Salama Mabruk, a veteran Egyptian jihadist, is now a key figure in Al Nusrah Front. Mabruk’s dossier stretches back to the early 1980s, when he was first imprisoned following the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. He reportedly oversaw Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda networks in the 1990s, before being captured in a CIA-led manhunt. He was released from an Egyptian prison following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, was released from an Egyptian prison earlier this week. He was imprisoned in Egypt in 1999, but released following the uprisings in 2011. He quickly became a prolific advocate for al Qaeda’s jihadist ideology. Along with other al Qaeda-linked jihadists, he helped orchestrate the protest outside the US Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012.
An al Qaeda media operative known as Shaybat al Hukama returned to Twitter on Feb. 15 after having his previous accounts suspended. Hukama has implied that Saif al Adel, a senior al Qaeda leader wanted for his alleged role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings, is in Syria to lead the fight against the Russians.
The 13th edition of the Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine is filled with anti-al Qaeda and anti-Taliban arguments. Previous editions of Dabiq included similar attempts to undermine al Qaeda’s and the Taliban’s jihadist credentials.
Al Qaeda has released two audio messages and a written statement from Ayman al Zawahiri in the past day. Two of the messages contain condemnations of Saudi Arabia. The third focuses on Southeast Asia.
The US State Department today announced a reward of up to $6 million for information leading to the whereabouts of Shabaab’s emir, Abu Ubaidah Ahmad Umar, who is loyal to al Qaeda head Ayman al Zawahiri. Five other Shabaab leaders now have rewards targeting them as well.
In a newly released audio message, Ayman al Zawahiri calls for unity to “liberate” Jerusalem. Zawahiri argues that the jihadists must strike the West and build Islamic states in the Levant and Egypt in order to achieve this goal.
Shabaab’s leadership has actively opposed the Islamic State’s expansion in East Africa. The Islamic State has made a major push via propaganda videos to encourage defections, but only a small cadre of Shabaab fighters has switched allegiance to the “caliphate” thus far.
Al Qaeda has released the second installment in the “Islamic Spring” series, which features lectures by Ayman al Zawahiri. The al Qaeda leader again calls for jihadist unity in Iraq and Syria. He also encourages young jihadist recruits to follow in the footsteps of successful terrorists.
In an audio message released today, al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri argues that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s Islamic State is illegitimate. Zawahiri says Muslims are under no obligation to swear allegiance to Baghdadi, and al Qaeda does not recognize the Islamic State as a “caliphate.” Despite their differences, Zawahiri says that if he were based in Iraq or Syria he would cooperate with the Islamic State in the fight against the West and other common enemies.
The fifth installment of the Taliban’s “Army of Badr” video series highlights the oaths of loyalty sworn by Ayman al Zawahiri and Siraj Haqqani to the Taliban’s new emir, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. The video is the latest piece of evidence that the jihadist “syndicate” continues to threaten Afghanistan 14 years after the US-led invasion of the country.
In an interview published on the Taliban’s official English-language website, Zabihullah Mujahid admits that Mullah Omar’s family and other senior Taliban officials hid Omar’s death. The text of the interview implies that Omar died in 2013.
In his third media appearance this month,the al Qaeda emir discusses the Battle of Tora Bora and the value of a united jihadist media. The video is the seventh installment in Zawahiri’s “Days with the Imam” series, in which he recounts episodes from Osama bin Laden’s life. The first video in the series was released in November 2011.
During the last months of his life, Osama bin Laden worried about the fate of his son, Hamzah. In a newly-released audio message, Hamzah picks up his father’s banner.
A statement released online today confirms that Mokhtar Belmokhtar is now the emir of Al Murabitoon, which calls itself “Al Qaeda in West Africa.” Another Al Murabitoon emerged in Egypt last month and it is also loyal to al Qaeda.
In an audio message released today, Ayman al Zawahiri pledges allegiance to the new emir of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.
Abu Khalil al Sudani worked with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri for years. He was a member of al Qaeda’s shura council and directed suicide operations. Osama bin Laden’s files reveal that he was one of al Qaeda’s most trusted leaders. The airstrike that killed Sudani took place in the Bermal district of the Paktia province, where the US operated a base before withdrawing its forces.
A group called Al Murabitoon has released a video featuring its emir, a former Egyptian special forces named Hisham Ali Ashmawi. He is wanted for a string of attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of Egypt’s chief prosecutor in late June. Al Murabitoon makes its loyalty to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri clear in the video.
Qasim al Raymi, the new head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), reaffirms his allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri in a newly-released audio message. It is al Raymi’s first message as AQAP’s emir.
The Pakistani Taliban has released a lengthy statement rejecting Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s claim to be the new caliph. The group praises Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, as well as deceased al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al Zawahiri.
A jihadist leader known as Adnan Abu Walid al Sahrawi has declared allegiance to the Islamic State. It appears that he has pledged fealty to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on behalf of MUJAO, a jihadist group in West Africa. There is no indication that al Qaeda loyalists, such as Mokhtar Belmokhtar, have also defected.
The leader of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent says that attacks by al Qaeda’s branches against supposed “blasphemers” were ordered by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri. He claims that several murders in Bangladesh and Pakistan were part of this campaign, which also includes the Charlie Hebdo massacre earlier this year.
The White House says that two hostages, including an American, were killed in a counterterrorism “operation” in January. The two perished in an attack that also killed Ahmed Farouq, a prominent al Qaeda leader. Declassified documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound identified a jihadist by that name as an up and coming leader. Adam Gadahn, an American al Qaeda spokesman, was also killed in a separate operation.
The State Department has added Aliaskhab Kebekov (also known as Ali Abu Muhammad al Dagestani), who heads the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. State notes that Kebekov has proclaimed his organization’s “structural subordination” to al Qaeda.
The Islamic State’s attacks on Houthi civilians are part of a deliberate strategy. AQAP tries to avoid such operations, but the permissibility of deliberately killing Shiite civilians is still debated in jihadist circles.
A newly released video features Said Arakanskiy, the leader of Vilayat Dagestan. Arakanskiy was appointed to that position late last year after his predecessor defected to the Islamic State.
An audio recording of Abu Muhammad al Julani, the emir of the Al Nusrah Front, introduces a newly-released video produced by the group. The video highlights Al Nusrah’s purported military gains and ends with a clip of Ayman al Zawahiri calling for jihadist unity.
Jordan has reportedly released Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi. The move was celebrated by al Qaeda jihadists on social media, including those belonging to the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.
Sharia officials from both Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Al Nusrah Front, two official branches of al Qaeda, have signed a statement saying that the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ is invalid. The statement is addressed to the Caucasus jihadists who announced their allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in December.